Mike Sullivan said that Ben McAdoo handed him the play-calling duties last week in Denver with no strings attached.
“He was excellent throughout the week, very supportive, and certainly on game day as well,” Sullivan said of the change in roles, something McAdoo had been reluctant to consider through the 0-5 start to the season.
“There were occasions, just in terms of him giving some feedback and a suggestion here or there. But he was very, very good. We just were able to do everything like we typically do, in terms of trying to get the information from Eli and to Eli . . . and just kind of go through and bounce ideas off of everybody in terms of what’s the next best approach for the next series.”
McAdoo has spoken about how much he enjoys calling plays, so there could have been some friction and maybe even some second-guessing when the call sheet was handed over. Sullivan said that was not the case.
McAdoo was not as definitive on that.
“We keep all of those conversations that happen on the headset personal and professional,” McAdoo said. “There were a couple times in the game where I started looking ahead to see if I could lend a hand. But you had to be smart that way. If you’re going to give someone an opportunity to call the game, you want to give them the opportunity to do that.”
For a year and a half Sullivan has been the offensive coordinator without calling the plays.
“The goal, first and foremost, is always to win,” he said. “And whatever the responsibility that I have, whether it’s to call the plays, or to assist Ben and him calling the plays, is what I want to do to the best of my ability.”
McAdoo seemed to enjoy the freedom a bit himself.
“It was interesting on Sunday night for the first time in a long time not calling plays, where I guess I could move around with a little more energy and vigor than I usually can,” he said. “Your normal coaching personality comes out a little bit more when you don’t call the plays, simply because of thinking ahead from just a playcaller standpoint. You’re always thinking ahead from a game management standpoint, but when you remove the actual calling of the plays, it changes some things. I guess your personality comes out a little bit more on the sideline. So that was fun for me.”
While McAdoo has not announced who will call the plays on Sunday against the Seahawks — in fact, he announced that he never would announce it — the assumption is that after the win and the success in Denver that Sullivan will continue in the role.
While fans will be keeping an eye on the Giants’ sideline to see who is at the wheel, the Seahawks will be too. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was asked if the opposing play-caller impacts how he calls his defense.
“Some,” he said. “I’m going to let you guess with that one, okay? Guess at the things we probably look at. I’m not going to give you that answer. There’s a chance we do those things, yes.”
So any element of Sully surprise is now lost. But the Giants will always have Denver.
“It was a great night for the organization,” Sullivan said of the victory. “I’m so proud of the players and appreciative of their efforts and buying into the plan. The assistant coaches did a great job and after all we’ve been through, for us to be able to go out there in that environment against that defense and to come out on top was something very gratifying.”